“The imperfections show that a person made this.” Someone recently said this to me in a conversation about arts and perfectionism, and my breath caught in my throat for a moment. She was right – the little imperfections in our art make it more accessible, reminding others that we are just like them. Yet, so often, I find myself hesitant to engage in creative expression because of a deep fear of imperfection. Thoughts such as “Will it be good enough?” “What if it’s awful?” and “Maybe no one will like it,” stomp all over my creative spark, putting it out before I can even begin.
COVID-19 has been difficult for so many for a variety of reasons. One of these is the cancellation of events that many people have looked forward to and feel the loss of keenly. Read below about how one of our ministry partners is bringing joy into peoples’ lives by expressing the hope of the gospel through a traditional artistic practice.
Did you grow up as I did, looking towards 2020 as the “year of the future”? I remember reading science magazines and watching TV shows that imagined video calls, pocket computers, robot household assistants, automated self-driving cars, immersive VR headsets… I was stoked to see what the future had in store for us and watched earnestly as one by one these technological fantasies entered the realm of reality. I just didn’t really anticipate… well, this.
For all our bold innovations improving and enhancing our everyday lives, it turns out humanity remains brutally fragile.
In a small country in Europe nestled between France and Germany, a stirring is taking place to see the healing of a fractured and divided church. With three distinct languages and a diversity of culture, Belgium has long been divided into the French-speaking Wallonia, Dutch-speaking Flanders, and the German-speaking East Cantons. Clashes over politics, government, and federal funding have kept these areas apart. A ministry partner working with OM Belgium, Matt Swanton, says, “You cross from one side to the other and it feels like entering a different country.”
“Does God really love me?” I think it is a question we have all asked at one time or another, and one that is particularly relevant in the midst of the current times. I have recently found myself frustrated and anxious, as I cognitively understand that God loves me but have struggled to believe it in my heart.
While recently discussing my frustration with my husband, he asked a question. “How do you know God loves you?” Slightly tongue-tied, I rattled off something about Scripture, the Gospel, and salvation. There was a moment of silence. He said, “Right, that’s good…how do you know God loves you today?” This time, I was speechless. “What do you mean?” He explained, “Well, today, what has God done to show you He loves you?” I started listing off all the possible things I could think of, and, wouldn’t you know it, they were all the “ordinary” things about the day that I had taken for granted. Tears sprang to my eyes as I thought about the Lord’s love in this new light.
Recently, our world has been reeling as we have been brought face to face with the stark reality of racism. The truth that many of our brothers and sisters around the world have had to deal with this reality their entire lives is sobering and hopefully prompts us to engage in meaningful conversations, take time to listen and seek to understand, and consider how the Lord might desire us to respond. We caught up with Whitney Peck, a musician serving the Lord in Albania, to ask her some questions about her story and experiences.
In Luke 10:5-7, Jesus talks of a “Man of Peace” to be found each time His disciples entered a new town to share the Gospel. In 2007 on a trip to Albania during our “war room” worship and prayer, someone mentioned this verse, and we began praying to find such a man. My friend, Pat, said she had been in a park the day before, and an Albanian believer commented that an old man sitting on the wall was listening to a Bible study on his radio.
Earlier this year, the newly combined OM Arts and Heart Sounds International (HSI) team announced that we were now “Inspiro Arts Alliance.” This change has been reflected on our website, in our literature, and anywhere and everywhere the names OM Arts or HSI once existed. However, you might have one simple question: What on earth does “Inspiro” mean? It is an excellent question, and one for which we thought it was high time we provided a broader answer.
This month, Inspiro is saying a bittersweet goodbye to a long-time staff member, Jason Williams (name changed for security reasons). Jason and his family are following the Lord into an exciting new chapter of their ministry, and we cannot wait to see how He will use them there. However, we will miss them greatly as their involvement with us will be much more limited. We had a chance to catch up with Jason and hear some of his reflections on his time with Inspiro, which he shares in the interview below. Thank you, Jason and family, for your years of faithful service with Inspiro for the gospel - you have blessed us deeply, and we will miss you immensely. May God bless you and keep you as you continue serving Him in this new adventure!
Linda Wells has been a long-time member of the Inspiro staff. A professionally trained dancer, she came to know the Lord and was later called to serve Him through the dance. Over the years, she has taken countless dancers on outreach trips, helping them to see their gift as given by God and meant to honor Him. She has served as a deep encouragement to many through her vivacious and unashamed faith and determination to follow the Lord wherever He leads, regardless of how crazy it might seem. This month, Linda is transitioning to be an Ally of Inspiro Arts so she can devote more time to the ministry the Lord has given her at Compass Dance Academy in Tyrone.
We are absolutely thrilled by the recent release of our 20th Anniversary edition of VIVID Magazine. This edition looks back at the twenty years of history since the founding of Heart Sounds International (HSI) and OM Arts (now collectively known as Inspiro Arts Alliance) in celebration of all the Lord has done through arts ministry. It also looks forward in anticipation of all the Lord has in store for Inspiro Arts Alliance. To receive your copy of VIVID, please visit our giving page.
Many times, going on an outreach pushes people out of their comfort zones and encourages them to try something new. Janice Taylor, an artist from the UK, shares how going on short-term trips made a profound difference in her life and future ministry.
I had only been painting for about a year when I went on an art outreach in Belgium in 2015. As part of the outreach, we were expected to paint based on Scripture. The verses I was given as inspiration was John 19:25-27 in which Jesus entrusts His mother, Mary, to the disciple John when He is dying on the cross.
Occasionally, when we tell others we do arts ministry, we get raised eyebrows. Often, the questions boil down to, “Why art?” One of our favorite answers to that within Inspiro is: “Because the Gospel is beautiful.”